Egypt, China, Russia discuss manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines

Mohammed El-Said
3 Min Read

Egypt’s Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed has met with China’s Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang to discuss bilateral cooperation in providing vaccines against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

During a phone conversation on Monday evening, Zayed and Liqiang discussed the provision of a new batch of COVID-19 vaccines to Egypt produced by the China National Pharmaceutical Group Company (Sinopharm) before the end of April. 

The new batch includes 500,000 doses from among the 20 million doses that Egypt agreed to purchase from the Chinese firm.

The Sinopharm vaccine was given the green light by the Egyptian Drug Authority’s (EDA) green light, as it has proven 86% effective in preventing the coronavirus. It has also proven itself 99% effective in producing antibodies to the virus, and 100% effective in preventing moderate and severe cases.

The two sides also discussed the preparations for mutual collaboration in manufacturing vaccines for the pandemic, and future steps for the availability of the vaccines that are effective.

In July, the two parties agreed that Egypt would be a regional centre in Africa for producing Chinese COVID-19 vaccines. This would take place through cooperation between the Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA) and a Chinese company working in the field of drug production. 

The meeting also addressed the mechanism to activate the use of QR codes between Egypt and China, which includes information on the PCR analysis of the coronavirus, antibodies, and the position on receiving the vaccine. 

The mechanism is believed to contribute to facilitating movement between the two countries, and activating trade exchange and other various economic activities between the two countries.

Also on Monday, Zayed received the Russian Ambassador to Egypt, Georgy Borisenko, to discuss ways of cooperation to provide Egypt with the Russian-manufactured COVID-19  vaccine, Sputnik V. 

The meeting also discussed opportunities for Russian vaccine manufacture in Egypt through Egyptian companies to ensure that Egypt’s needs for vaccines are met and to increase investment opportunities in preparation for export to African countries.

The Russian vaccine Sputnik V obtained the EDA’s approval for use in the country, with the vaccine given in two doses of 21 days apart.

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Mohammed El-Said is the Science Editor for the Daily News Egypt with over 8 years of experience as a journalist. His work appeared in the Science Magazine, Nature Middle East, Scientific American Arabic Edition, SciDev and other regional and international media outlets. El-Said graduated with a bachelor's degree and MSc in Human Geography, and he is a PhD candidate in Human Geography at Cairo University. He also had a diploma in media translation from the American University in Cairo.